With over 20 years of industry experience, New Castle Building Group owner and Fortress® Preferred Contractor Jason Alloway is a veteran when it comes to building bigger and better decks for Georgia homeowners. A testament to his hard-earned reputation as a trusted deck builder, Jason’s business is based almost entirely on referrals. To deliver on its promise of bringing performance and lasting beauty to custom decks and outdoor living spaces, New Castle Building Group depends on high-quality building products like steel framing.
So when New Castle Building Group was commissioned to build a mammoth 850 square foot deck in Johns Creek, Georgia, Jason knew a traditional wood frame wouldn’t do. After all, the existing wood frame—which prompted the backyard overhaul—was sagging, rotting and deemed unsafe for use. To ensure a sound deck build from the ground up, New Castle Building Group turned to Evolution steel deck framing from Fortress Building Products. An ideal deck framing solution, Evolution delivers performance advantages that lumber can’t match.
Steel sidesteps risk of deterioration
With steel, Jason and crew can have peace of mind in the long-term structural integrity of the Johns Creek project. Steel is resistant to most tangible threats, including rot and decay from moisture-absorption, fungi, pests and weathering. In application, steel frame profiles will remain straight and true over time. This makes for an enduring, dimensionally stable deck framing solution that keeps surface boards flat and smooth underfoot. With this reassurance, Jason and team can sideline the issues that plagued the homeowner’s old wood frame deck, including deterioration after long-term exposure to moisture and warping as a result of Georgia’s extreme temperatures.
Strength to boot
All muscle and brawn, steel’s ultimate yield strength measures approximately 10 times greater than wood. Professional deck builders like Jason can create luxurious outdoor living scenarios—complete with full outdoor kitchens, hot tubs, fire pits and ample seating areas for hosting family and friends. There is no reason to fear the added weight of these sought-after amenities will result in premature deck system failure. To put the power of steel in perspective, the Johns Creek project was designed to support 200-psf live load. Building code requires that a residential deck support a mere 40-psf live load. “It doesn’t get much stronger than this,” says Jason.
Steel’s capacity for load bearing weight also has a direct correlation with its ability to provide greater spans. A steel joist can span up to 16 feet between supports, a distance that is simply not possible with lumber. As a result, Jason and team were able to frame the massive deck with fewer pieces of material, which in turn provided labor savings.
Comprehensive framing systems ensure safe, complete builds
An attractive quality on large-scale projects, Evolution also supports a straightforward deck building process. The comprehensive framing system includes an intuitive ledger and convenient joist lengths for an installation process similar to lumber.
That said, the real “gamechanger” is the Evolution steel stair system, according to Jason. Typically, it would take New Castle Building Group one or two full days to frame deck stairs. With the engineered steel stair system, the crew framed the stairs in a matter of hours. Jason attributes the significant labor savings to the system’s fixed and adjustable stair brackets, which can accommodate various rise and run options. Plus, its self-drilling screws ensure maximum strength and security at connections.
Incorporating a compatible steel stair system into the Johns Creek project not only made sense from a labor standpoint, but it also sidesteps serious safety concerns, like poor stringer-to-deck connections and inconsistent rises and runs. These challenges are rampant in traditional wood decks, as conventional stair construction requires deck builders to cut pieces of lumber by hand—a recipe for miscalculations. These freshly introduced steel stair components and brackets make it possible to marry deck framing and stairs for one unified build.
Engineered to last as long as today’s enduring composite surface boards, Evolution steel deck framing will ensure this 850 square foot deck structure stands strong for 25 or more years—safeguarding legacy of work and the impeccable reputation of New Castle Building Group.
As a Fortress Preferred Platinum Contractor, Jason and his crew build exclusively with Evolution. “Progressive steel framing systems like Evolution are light years above wood frame decks—I am 100 percent confident steel is the way forward” adds Jason.